Malad may emerge as a rival to Bandra-Kurla Complex as the new hub for the diamond trade in the aftermath of 13/7. Not all diamond traders are keen on shifting to the fortress-like Bharat Diamond Bourse at Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) after the blast outside the diamond hub of Panchratna building in South Mumbai. In fact, small and medium diamond traders are talking about developing Malad, 30 km from Panchratna, as the new hub.
Not only do many diamond traders live in the western suburbs from Malad to Mira Road, several of them even have their offices in Malad. Moreover, even trading happens in locations such as Gaushala Road in Malad East.
“If big traders shift to BKC, small and medium traders may shift to Malad,’’ said Sanjay Vyas, who runs a medium-sized diamond firm and has a unit in Dahisar. The prices of real estate in Malad are much cheaper than in Opera House, where Panchratna building is situated.
“Shifting the entire diamond trade is not possible due to limited availability of space at BKC. Small and medium traders cannot afford the high booking rates of Rs 60,000 per square feet at BKC, thus they may shift to Malad, which is relatively close to the new diamond bourse in BKC,” said Govind Dholakiya, chairman of Shree Ramkrishna Exports. He implies that the sorting of diamonds, which is the main activity at Panchratna, may shift to Malad. Rakesh Gandhi, director of Navin Gems, said, “The biggest disadvantage of BKC is that it cannot accommodate all the traders and merchants operating at Opera House. There should have been a plan to develop small buildings inside the BKC’’
According to him, even if all the 2,500 big and medium traders who have been allotted space at BKC shift there in the next few months, the sorting to diamonds will still continue at Opera House.In addition to this, the location of the new bourse at BKC is inconvenient for any small and medium trader who travels by train. Though the bourse is a virtual fortress, BKC gets deserted in the evening and diamond merchants can become easy targets for robbers.